The secret sauce to success includes more than just a talented team. In my experience within large corporations, consultancies and small design agencies, I've come across many team dynamics and interesting process methods. I have found the most success using the Agile methodology paired with the Product Model. Each project, product and team has its own unique qualities and must be treated as such, but there are some key processes and touchpoints I like to weave into my initiatives to ensure the team and product’s success:
• Problem Definition and Alignment: Ensuring that there is problem definition alignment upfront with key partners and their sponsors is something I never skip. I’ve learned this the hard way over time, and no longer assume a team coming together always starts with the same background information and goals in mind. Start off on the right foot together!
• Shared Goals and Metrics (OKRs): Now that we’re clear on the problem that we’re trying to solve, get clear with your team on what success looks like (in a way that’s measurable) and what realistic timing and risk factors are. These should also be grounded in our “why” to point back to as a source of inspiration as well as clarity.
• Co-Creation with key partners to prove out our hypothesis through usability testing: One of my favorite ways to do this is a conducting a Design Studio workshop in the early phases of a project, enabling the teams to get detailed requirements, group buy-in, and feedback in a way that many teams struggle doing in a standard kick off meeting. These are more popularly called Design Sprints today, but the heavy focus of co-creation and validating the path forward through feedback from real end users is the same.
• Test early and often, fail early and often: Testing is never done, so making sure there’s a thoughtful cadence for some sort of feedback loop throughout the life of the product is something I put in place. Whether that’s formal usability testing, an NPS, or SUS (System Usability Scale), there should always be a plan to capture sentiments and scores while your product continues to evolve. About failing: I see it as just a big of a win to learn what doesn’t work as it is to find something that does. The key is to find out earlier. With that said, I help the team understand what “smart risks” look like. Where is it ok to play and fail, while setting guardrails around non-negotiables to keep both the users and business safe.
Should we know each other? Let's grab a cup of Caribou Coffee sometime.